Waters: Generalities, rhetoric about incumbents ‘don’t cut it’

A few weeks ago I was asked how I defined leadership when it comes to being a member of a city council.

A few weeks ago, during the early days of the current civic election campaign, I was asked how I defined leadership when it comes to being a member of a city council.

My answer was simple: Show up and make decisions.

Of course, depending on which side of the political fence you sit on, you may not like the decisions that are made. That’s fair enough. But elected officials should do what they were elected to do. Kelowna mayoral candidate Walter Gray is right when he says not making decisions in unacceptable.

But in this campaign there is a growing, albeit incorrect, perception that the current Kelowna council is indecisive. I don’t see it.

While many of the challengers looking to unseat incumbents are repeating the accusation, none are backing it up with examples.

The problem is, some don’t like the decisions council has made. And that’s what should be up for debate.

But getting back to the my rather simple definition of leadership, it appears to have struck a chord with at least one incumbent councillor.

Charlie Hodge must have been thinking along the same lines after he was targeted for replacement by a local group now backing four newcomers that it wants to see replace him, Angela Reid-Nagy, Michele Rule and Kevin Craig on council.

Hodge has been crunching the numbers and has come up with some figures showing he, Reid-Nagy, Rule and Craig have been showing up, in some cases more than their other five colleagues, four of whom the group says it is supporting.

Just like a good attendance record in school, it’s more important what you do while you are there than simply parking your butt in a seat. But as they used to say in lotto ads, if you’re not in, you can’t win. So there is something to be said for showing up.

It’s time those who are telling voters its time for a change explain why there’s the need, what will change and how their election will make a difference.

With a 40-candidate field, that’s a tall order and there are plenty of voters out there to reach.

There are issues this council needs to address and explanations needed for why it has acted in certain ways.

But generalities about change, rhetoric about “balancing” council and accusations about a lack of decision-making just don’t cut it.

Voters deserve more than that.

Alistair Waters is the Capital News’ assistant editor.

 

awaters@kelownacapnews.com